Tillie’s Notebook, Part 14

Page 16 and Page 17 (click to enlarge)

Here is another interesting moral story from Tillie’s 1902 Notebook along with a surprising revelation. Make sure you read to the end of this post!

Translation: Page 17, right side and Page 18, left side

The Careless Pupil

Luigino was a stubborn and unwise boy who loved having fun more than studying.

After the school bell rang he would have never missed the occasion of being absent from school lessons whenever he could, preferring to go and play around the village with bad boys instead of being attentive and learning the useful things that the teacher taught.

He used to tease his classmates and scribble on books and notebooks wasting things and time.

It was better when he was not at school because he was a continuous bother for his classmates and his teacher.

Page 18 and Page 19 (click to enlarge)

After he had spent the school year doing very little and without changing his behavior despite his teacher’s advice and his parents’ care, he realized that the exams were near. But he was in the bad condition that it was better not to go to the exams or he would have shamefully failed.

In the moment of danger the lazy and careless confide in other people’s virtues.

So Luigino started the exams unable to perform the tasks and begging some classmates for help with various excuses. But his classmates refused to help him because the teacher had forbidden, saying that during an examination everyone must do by himself so that they could discern the grain from the tares*.

Castelfondo, April 1902

*Note: the word “tares” is referred to in the bible as an injurious weed resembling wheat when young (Matt. 13:24-30).

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In researching the word “tares” that appears in the last sentence of this translation, I stumbled upon an unusual twist to the story. It appears Tillie’s little moral tale written in 1902 may actually be a “modern” interpretation of a New Testament bible parable as told in Matthew 13:24-30. Comparing the theme of Mathew’s parable and the story of “The Careless Pupil” we find similarities along with the unusual use of the word “tares”. Tillie’s story is a much simpler version of the original parable. But this adaption makes sense if the goal was to teach moral behavior using a relatable story the class could understand. Think back when you were a child. If you were brought up in the Roman Catholic church, I’m sure you remember your catechism book filled with stories and illustrations, meant to teach you right from wrong.

Maybe the school assignment for that date was to interpret a bible story as it related to the students’ every day life in Castelfondo. I wonder if other moral stories contained in our notebook also have roots in biblical parables? I guess we will have to wait and see what future translations show us.

14th century book illustration for the parable of The Wheat and The Tares, unknown artist

Here is the passage from Matthew as written in the King James Bible. See if you agree with me!

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.

But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then the tares appeared also.

So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in thy field? From where did the tares come out from?

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Matthew 13:24-30

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Leave me a comment if you recognize another entry from Tillie’s Notebook that corresponds to a bible story!

Once again, many thanks to our translator Loretta Cologna.

Read previous posts from Tillie’s Notebook by scrolling through our Archive listings (see right hand column). Translations for this series are posted from August 2019 – December 2019.

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For more info:

A sermon by Father Michael K. March:
Weeding out Judgement – A sermon on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Parable of the Wheat and Weeds, click here to read.

Illustration, Taccuino Sanitatis, Public Domain, Source: WikiMedia Commons

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